About Town with Erica Robertson, Town Manager
This monthly column highlights the good work of our municipal employees and Boards. It will also let folks know about important issues and activities in town. Great things are happening every day, and I hope to let you in on some of them each month.
At this time of year most people have filed their income taxes and may be reviewing their personal finances to plan for next year. Similarly, the town’s elected boards and my staff have just completed the FY22-23 budget process. The input and questions posed by residents attending the Board of Finance Public Hearing in April was appreciated.
One topic frequently brought up at budget workshops and public meetings was tax relief programs for the elderly, disabled and others in Granby who may be on a low or fixed income. Programs for seniors in general were also discussed. The last few years have been unprecedented, and some Granby residents may still be affected by the pandemic. For many, reconnecting with the community is a challenge; sponsored programs and assistance can be a big help. Following is a summary of some current programs and services available, and we are continually working on finding new offerings.
Tax Exemption Programs
Due to the number and complexity of exemptions, the following is intended as a general guide to what is available. If you think you may be eligible, or have questions, please call the Assessor’s Office to discuss details at 860-844-5311.
Veteran’s Exemption: Active duty servicemen or veterans who have served at least 90 days during time of war, are eligible for a $1,500 exemption off their assessment. Required documentation of eligibility must be filed with the Town Clerk on or before Sept. 30. Check the town website for additional programs for veterans.
Blind Exemption: Blind residents are eligible for a $3,000 reduction in their assessment.
Elderly, 65 or older, or Totally Disabled Persons Tax Relief Program: Connecticut residents 65 or older or those receiving permanent total disability benefits are eligible for a $1,000 reduction in their assessment. Applicants must meet certain income parameters and file with the Assessor’s office between Feb. 1 and May 15. The elderly state benefit, known as the Owners Benefit, had 119 taxpayers approved last year, for a total tax exemption of $69,000. Last year, 168 taxpayers were eligible for the local elderly program for a total tax exemption of $271,638. Most of the elderly receiving the state benefit are also receiving the local benefit. The total tax exemption from these two programs is $340,639.
Senior Center Programs
The Granby Senior Center offers many programs for seniors. Many of the senior programs require pre-registration and the schedule is subject to change. Please call the Senior Center 860-844-5350 for more information. A complete listing of Senior Center activities and programs is published monthly in the Drummer. Some highlights of programs include:
• Congregate meals provided by the Hartford Community Renewal Team on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a suggested donation of $3.
• Support and health services offered for little or no cost. Low-cost exercise programs and Line Dancing are offered.
• Senior Van Service provides transportation for out-of-town medical and personal care appointments, shopping, Dine and Drives, and day trips to local places of interest such as Hill-Stead Museum, Connecticut College Arboretum Tour, and Harkness Park.
• Free vegetables offered from June to October through the Holcomb Farm Fresh Access program.
• The Renters’ Rebate Program provides rent relief to seniors 65 or older. Application period is from April 1 through Sept. 30. Contact the Senior Center for eligibility requirements and application information.
• The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program offers help with energy bills, and is available through May 31 of this year.
• The Medical Loaner Closet provides free medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, and shower benches.
Parks and Recreation Programs
The program guide is full of programs for the entire community. The Recreation staff can be reached at 860-653-8947 and online at GranbyRec.com They are always adding to the program list, with more adult programs in the fall/winter/early spring months. The current adult programs and bus trips include many that are both Senior and Disability friendly.
The vast majority of what Granby Libraries offer is not limited to any user group. That said, here are some items of interest for the senior population:
Senior Outreach Program: This program provides deliveries of library materials to Stony Hill and Salmon Brook Housing. Volunteers and library staff deliver materials to each location approximately every 6-8 weeks so that those residents can enjoy the convenience of borrowing library materials even when they can’t make it to the library. This program has been on hiatus for the last couple of years due to COVID, but is being re-instated in May.
Technology: The library’s tutor is available for appointments on Thursdays to help patrons learn to use a computer, tablet, or smartphone. In addition, there are group classes throughout the year helping patrons learn how to download eBooks, use Library databases, and/or search the Internet effectively. There are several public computers/printers, WiFi and other equipment for public use any time the library is open.
Large Print and Audio Books: The library offers over 1,000 large print titles as well as nearly 2,000 audio books on CD. Patrons can request additional titles from any library in the State, as well as learn to download titles from digital bookshelves such as Libby and hoopla. Digital titles can be downloaded to a device and then read with a variety of font sizes and colors to help all readers enjoy them—or patrons can change the speed and volume if they prefer to listen to the audio book titles. Patrons may also register with the Library for the Blind through the Granby Public Library to receive materials directly at home.
Programs: Seniors are also invited to participate in the many ongoing programs for adults.